Introducing Kieryn Nicolas

I’m back from my first San Diego Comic-Con, which was more fun than it had any right to be. Very soon I’ll blog about why it was so fun, and what Daryl Saw at the Big Show and What He Learned There.  But I will say this: the youth and energy of that con blew me away.

Speaking of youth and energy… there’s this girl I know — Kieryn Nicolas? She’s 15 years old, and she just had her first novel published by Echelon Press. Also, the book’s pretty damn good. It’s called Rain, and it’s about a girl who goes to a school for super-spies. It’s like Mission: Impossible meets Harry Potter, and it’s a blast.

Now, this is great news for anyone worried about the next generation. But it does make one member of this generation wonder about how soon he’ll be replaced. It took me until I was over 40 to get my first book out, and now here’s this kid with a 25-year head start on me. She’s already working on her next novel. By the time she’s my age she’ll have more pages out than James Patterson.

Well, so be it. I surrender to the future. If the next generation’s as bright and talented as Kieryn, we’re in good hands. Check out her website and her blog, and read the first chapter of Rain.

Or, meet her right now. I invited Kieryn on to do a guest blog post, and here she is talking about my favorite flavor o’ fiction:

The What-If Genre

I am currently in the process of cleaning my room. And trust me, when I say “process,” I mean it’s a process. I’ve only gotten through my desk and under my dish chair so far…and when I say “gotten through,” I mean most of the items that were in/under said furniture are now spread across my floor waiting to be sorted or placed.

The good thing about this process is that, since I am painstakingly taking the time to actually sort through everything, I find things from years-gone-by. Mostly what I find is writing related, because I almost never toss anything writing related. Words are awesome! Treat them as such, like me, by deciding not to throw them away and stuffing them back in the pile you found them to sit for another X years.

Anyway.

Yesterday, as I was actively organizing, I came across the folder from last summer’s Penn State Young Writer’s Workshop (where I officially met Daryl, incidentally). In that folder was a packet of science fiction excerpts and short stories that we’d been given for our sci-fi elective. Of course, since I was busy cleaning my room, I immediately settled down to read it.

Forty-three minutes later I had been sufficiently reminded why I like sci-fi so much. I spend half my time thinking “what if?” and science fiction is THE what-if genre. My favorite subset is dystopian, when a flaw in society is grossly magnified and you’re left thinking, wow…that could happen. And if the story is really great, then you’re also left with more chills racing up your spine than someone who’s just watched Hitchcock’s The Birds. (Trust me.)  During the sci-fi class we were instructed to write the start of a novel that was a social commentary about a flaw we see with society. It was hard to choose just one, but I think I went with over-development.

That class and that idea of a dystopian society stuck with me. It’s one of my favorite genres to read, and now write. I was constantly reminded of sci-fi class at the Writer’s Workshop when I was writing my most recent story, a dystopia, which is kind of like Stepford Wives meets Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies. I definitely see myself exploring more sci-fi in the future.

–Kieryn

Mekka Lekka Hi: Daryl’s First Comic-Con

In July, the comics book faithful turn west and make their pilgrimage to San Diego. It’s the geek Mecca, as 100,000 people swarm the city to talk about not just comics, but movies, fiction, gaming, and which fans should definitely not be wearing spandex.

And next week I’m going for my first time — sink or swim, baby! I’ll be on a couple panels, one about the prose part of my life, and one about the new comic book I’ve been working on (due out in August).

First up, Thursday afternoon I’m doing a panel with a lot of great writers about “Twisting Genres.” Afterward, there will be a signing, where I will sit next to the heavy hitters and watch people line up for them. I’ve become very good at these kinds of things at holding coats, providing extra pens, running and getting gin… you know, just helping out.

On Friday, I’m going to a panel I’m not actually on, but Bill Willingham and I have decided to sit in the audience and interrupt. It’s on creating superhero fiction, and they’ll be talking about Masked, the superhero anthology that’s out now. Anthology editor Lou Anders and my pals Chris Roberson and Matt Sturges will be on it.

Then on Saturday, I’ll be on a panel with Kurt Busiek and BOOM! Studios’ head guy Mark Waid to talk about the Dracula: Company of Monsters comic. Woo hoo!

Here’s the schedule copy-and-paste:

Thursday, 4:00-5:00 Twisting Genres— Fantastic fiction authors talk about pushing the envelope on genre, not confining it to one definition. Participants include China Miéville (Kraken), Justin Cronin (The Passage), Naomi Novik (Tongues of Serpents), Daryl Gregory (The Devil’s Alphabet), Jeffrey J. Mariotte (Cold Black Hearts), Robert Masello (Blood And Ice), Keith Thompson (The Leviathan trilogy), and Scott Westerfeld (The Leviathan trilogy). Moderated by Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy. Room 25ABC

Friday, 10:00-11:00 With Great Power Come Great Stories— Authors discuss creating superhero superfiction, including novels and stories in anthologies like Masked and Wild Cards. Authors include Lou Anders (Masked), Jackie Kessler (the Icarus Project novels), Caitlin Kittredge (the Icarus Project novels), Gini Koch (Touched by an Alien, the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series), Kevin Andrew Murphy (the Wild Cards series), Chris Roberson (Book of Secrets), Caroline Spector (Wild Cards contributor), and Matt Sturges (Justice Society of America). Moderated by Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy. Room 32AB

Saturday, 3:30-4:30 Editing Comics the BOOM! Studios Way— BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Mark Waid and BOOM! Managing Editor Matt Gagnon talk with Kurt Busiek and Daryl Gregory about putting together their upcoming BOOM! series Dracula: The Company Of Monsters. Don’t miss this in-depth look into the editing secrets of one of the comic book industry’s leading independent publishers. Join moderator Mark Waid (author of the Eisner Award-nominated Irredeemable, BOOM! Editor-in-Chief) and panelists Kurt Busiek (author of the Eisner Award-winner Astro City), Daryl Gregory (acclaimed sci-fi writer, author of The Devil’s Alphabet), and Matt Gagnon (BOOM! Managing Editor) as they discuss editing do’s and don’ts of today’s comic book industry. Room 24ABC